On Christmas Eve in a quiet cove off the Gulf of Alaska, while the crew nestles in their berths, the skipper of the F/V Navidad is roused from his bunk by a commotion in the water outside, as a familiar Yuletide visitor arrives in an overflowing skiff powered by a killer whale, salmon, herring and gumboot.
Don’t know what a gumboot is? (A mollusk with a leathery skin, eaten by Alaska Natives).
How about hootchies? (Colorful and strange fishing lures that look like squid or octopus, used to make salmon bite the hook).
These and other Southeast fishing terms are explained in a glossary at the end of the “Bight.” We hope you enjoy this version of one of the most famous of Christmas stories, re-told from a maritime point-of- view!
“The Bight” was written by Will Swagel, who has been chronicling the stories of the people of Sitka and Alaska for nearly 30 years. It is illustrated by Colin Herforth, a Sitka artist, musician and former commercial fisherman. “The Bight” is a Made in Alaska product, published in Sitka and printed in Juneau, Alaska.